Council services FAQs

(last update Tuesday 6 October)

How can I report issues of non-compliance with the current closures and restrictions?

If you are aware of issues relating to the closure of premises then you should contact the council's environmental health team on [email protected] or 01325 405111

If the issue relates to social gatherings or groups of people behaving in a way they shouldn’t then you should contact the police.

Will there be a freeze on Council Tax or a discount?

While Council Tax continues to be due and will need to be paid, we do appreciate that your financial situation may be uncertain over the next few months.

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for Council Tax support which may reduce the amount of Council Tax you are required to pay.You can find more information here.

Leisure services

Will I still be charged for my monthly gym membership for the Dolphin Centre?

Memberships were frozen through the nationwide lockdown. Payments resumed on 1 August 2020. Check the Dolphin Centre website for updates 

What about prepaid swimming lessons?

Payments are on hold and will resume once lessons return to the Dolphin Centre, all customers will be contacted before lessons restart.

Can I use Eastbourne running track?

Yes, Eastbourne Sports Complex has reopened. The track must be booked in advance with only six people at any one time using the area. Call 01325 405400 to book a slot.

What happens with bookings that have been arranged at the Dolphin Centre, such as birthday parties?

All refunds have automatically been generated for any bookings that have been cancelled at the Dolphin Centre.

Transport

What bus services are running and when are bus passes valid?

Arriva North East services and coronavirus updates can be found on Arriva's website [external link]. Bus passes can be used after 9.30am, as normal.

Are car parks free?

As of Monday, 5 October, council run car parks offer the first two hours free. Any time after the first two hours must be paid for. All drivers must get a ticket from the machine to show their arrival time. There is more information on the town centre parking pages.

There has been some changes to on-street parking to help with social distancing in the town centre. Please follow signs in the town.

Library

Will I be charged for overdue books?

No, there will be no charges for overdue books.

What should I do with my library books?

Crown Street Library is open for customers to return books and for quick pick book borrowing only, between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday. 

Cockerton Library is open to return books and for quick pick borrowing at the following times: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9.30am-1pm; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 1pm-4pm. 

Free home delivery services for older library users (over 60s) is still available, call 01325-349610 for details. 

For more information visit our library services page.

Register office

What’s the advice regarding weddings at the registry office at the town hall over next few months? Will they still be able to go ahead?

Weddings are taking place at the registry office at the town hall, following the latest Government guidance. For more information visit our marriages and civil partnerships page

Can I give notice of a marriage/civil partnership?

Yes. There is more information on our register office webpage.

Street Scene

Will the bins still be emptied?

Yes, there are no changes to refuse and recycling collections which continue as normal. Garden waste collections are also taking place.

Is the tip open?

Yes. We have introduced a new booking system. More details on the tip  and recycling centre webpage.

Is commercial waste still being collected as normal?

Yes

How do I report a flytip and will it be collected?

Please report flytips as usual using our online form. We will work to clear fly tips on public land.

People

Are Lifeline services for older/vulnerable people still running as normal?

The Lifeline emergency response service is still running as normal.

As schools are still closed for some pupils, is there any provision for those who have free school meals?

Yes, all children that are entitled will continue to access free school meals throughout including school holidays.

Parents of eligible children should contact the school for a £15 weekly supermarket voucher per eligible child. Find advice on applying for free school meals if you think your child may now be eligible.

Are there any local voluntary services doing shopping for vulnerable people, who may not be able to do their own shopping or get a delivery (which are fully booked)?

There are a number of local voluntary sector services supporting vulnerable people who are unable to do their shopping or to get a delivery. These are all outlined in the Livingwell Darlington directory.

Housing

Will there be any freeze on rents for council tenants?

No, rent for council tenants is should still be paid. However, if your income has been affected by Coronavirus and you are concerned about paying your rent, please contact the income team at [email protected] and we’ll try to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

We will not take possession proceedings or evict anyone as a result of the impact of Coronavirus.

If your income has not been affected, we urge you to continue making your regular payments as this will prevent you getting into debt.

If your employment has been affected and you need to make a claim for Universal Credit, please visit the gov.uk website [external link] to see what you may be entitled to.

I am a council tenant, what if I need to book a repair?

We are carrying out repairs as normal. All emergency and urgent jobs will continue to be carried out as normal.

More information on the public alerts page.

Who do I contact if I am homeless or at risk of being homeless?

Contact the council on 01325 405333 during office hours (8:30am to 5pm), or 01642 260346 outside of office hours.

Democracy

What about council meetings?

Council meetings have been taking place since 25 June, with the annual meeting of the council, and a programme of meetings for our scrutiny committees, the general licensing committee and the planning applications committee. More information can be found on the council's democratic page.

Can I still contact my councillor?

You can still contact your councillor by telephone or email – more details here.

Can I still submit a planning application?

Yes, a planning application can still be submitted and will be validated. There is likely however to be some delay in the validation and approval process.